OLE THE TOWER-KEEPER 669
fall—no sunbeam brings thanks to me, for here there is nothing worthy of thanks. I shall not get the patent lacquer,' said Ole ; ' for my fate on earth is only grease, after all.'
It was New Year's Day, and I went up the tower. Ole spoke of the toasts that were drunk at the passing of the Old Year into the New. And he told me a story about the glasses, and this story had a very deep meaning. It was this :
' When on the New Year's Eve the clock strikes twelve, the people at the table rise up, with full glasses in their hands, and drink success to the New Year. They begin the year with the glass in their hands ; that is a good beginning for topers. They begin the New Year by going to bed, and that's a good beginning for drones. Sleep is sure to play a great part in the course of the year, and the glass likewise. Do you know what dwells in the glass ? ' asked Ole. ' There dwell in the glass, health, pleasure, and the wildest delight; and misfortune and the bitterest woe dwell there also. Now suppose we count the glasses —of course I count the different degrees in the glasses for different people.
1 You see, the first glass, that's the glass of health, and in that the herb of health is found growing ; put it up on the beam in the ceiling, and at the end of the year you may be sitting in the arbour of health.
' If you take the second glass—from this a little bird soars upwards, twittering in guileless cheerfulness, so that a man may listen to his song and perhaps join in, " Fair is life ! no downcast looks ! Take courage and march onward ! "
1 Out of the third glass rises a little winged urchin, who cannot certainly be called an angel-child, for there is goblin blood in his veins, and he has the spirit of a goblin ; not wishing to hurt or harm you, indeed, but very ready to play off tricks upon you. He'll sit at j^our ear and whisper merry thoughts to you ; he'll creep into your heart and warm you, so that you grow very merry and become a wit, so far as the wits of the others can judge.